Cleary Gottlieb poaches tax ace from Oppenhoffs

US firm Cleary, Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has boosted its German office by luring a leading tax partner from Linklaters' German alliance partner Oppenhoff & Radler.

The loss of Dr Gottfried Breuninger, one of the leading corporate tax lawyers in Germany, will be a blow to Oppenhoffs, which has been rated as Germany's leading tax practice.

Breuninger is the second partner to leave Oppenhoffs since the firm underwent a radical shake-up of its management structure in May.

This was undertaken to bring it into line with its UK partner, Linklaters.

Breuninger becomes Cleary Gottlieb's third German partner and fifth in total in its Frankfurt office.

The firm now boasts 200 lawyers in five European offices, London, Paris, Brussels, Frankfurt and Rome.

Cleary Gottlieb managing partner Ned Stiles says the further improvement of German tax capability will greatly enhance the firm's European M&A practice, most of which emanates from London.

In the UK the tax practice concentrates on US law, with one US partner and three associates, although corporate partner Andrew Curran offers some UK tax capability.